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Mass Media Essay

3259 words - 13 pages

Mass Media is a major part of the everyday lives of American citizens. Mass media provides the public the means for obtaining information, and knowledge about various aspects of life such as the economy, foreign affairs, weather, entertainment, crimes, and last but not least, politics. ”The media are key institutions in our society. They affect our culture, our buying habits, and our politics. They are affected in turn by changes in our beliefs, tastes, interests and behavior”(Biagi, 11). The media covers countless accounts of policies, politicians, debates, and speeches all relating to the presidency. The role of mass media has become a crucial component of the presidency, mass media is a tool for the president to promote his policies, garner support, keep the people informed, and to establish a connection between the American people and the executive. Mass media heavily influences a President’s prestige, reputation, status and authority, which are all factors in achieving a productive, and successful presidency. The influence of mass media in the presidency does not always benefit the president; many presidents have suffered negative blows in their presidency catalyzed by mass media. Throughout history many presidents have recognized and used mass media as a tool for establishing public support, creating a link with the American people, and to strengthen and maintain the power of the presidency. Through the analysis of mass media during elections, presidency, and major events throughout time that shaped the role of the modern presidency, it is clear that mass media is powerful and inevitable force influencing the American presidency.

The role of mass media is so powerful in our politics that is referred to as the “fourth estate “coined by Edmund Burke. The fourth estate when referring to mass media in the United States of America is seen as the fourth unofficial branch of the United States government. The fourth estate unofficially is called known as the fourth branch because it closely monitors the other branches. Fourth estate is one of the functions of mass media, its purpose described by Stuart Allan in Journalism“...as a critical check on the use and abuse of power” (Curran and Seaton, 2003). Many presidents if not all have recognized mass media as the fourth estate, and have either used it to their advantage or have become disadvantaged by it.

The fourth estate is responsible for shaping the public opinion of the American people with the information disclosed by mass media outlets. Former President Wilson was adamant on establishing an increase in presidential authority through the public support, which he did through the adaptation of mass media as a tool. “Building popular support is critical…mass media can be potent allies or obstructive, constitutionally protected but unelected enemies” (Morgan, 503). He understood that controlling the relationship between mass media and public opinion was necessary for an effective presidency....

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